Boris Epstein is the CEO and Founder of BINC, a Professional Search Firm that specializes in the Software Marketplace. Boris shares his thoughts about the recruitment industry, job hunting and career advice at AskBinc.com.
With the emergence of social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, and their user bases growing by the millions, one would think that a headhunter’s job just got much easier. I mean let’s face it; nowadays we can find anybody whether it’s on one of these social networking sites, on a blog, discussion board, alumni list or via true and tried headhunting techniques.
But it’s not that simple. In the golden days of recruiting we would hunt for days to find a candidate with a degree from a top university who worked for a top notch company who of course was considered priceless and absolutely worth contacting. Today however, we run a simple search on LinkedIn and find hundreds that match that exact profile. Or we run a quick search on Twitter for anybody discussing a specific keyword and we now have hundreds more to contact. But with only a set number of hours in a day, we just don’t have the bandwidth to contact everybody.
The problem of today completely flipped from the one of yesterday where we went from candidate scarcity and limited information to an overabundance of candidates and even more information available on each one.
So in today’s world of information overload where talent is literally available by the truckloads, I thought it would be relevant to write a post about how we evaluate a candidate’s social media footprint to determine (when all else is equal) which candidates we would contact and which ones get left by the wayside. I posed the following question to make it simple:
If all else were equal, like education, work history and general skill set, and I had to evaluate the social media footprints of two candidates to determine which one of them I would contact, which one would I contact and why? In my experience, I would contact the one who:
1. Has genuine recommendations from peers, managers and colleagues
2. Has the more complete profile
3. Is a member of more groups pertaining to their respective field
4. Has a picture
5. Lists interests, hobbies and other information related to their life outside of work
6. Participates and highlights their involvement in non-paid projects related to their field (open-source, community, volunteer, conference)
7. Updates their status more often
8. Asks and answers more questions
9. Links to their employer, blog and other projects of interest
10. Has the larger network
On their blog
1. Has interesting things to say about their respective profession and industry
2. Provides glimpses into their life outside of work – family, friends, hobbies, etc.
3. Does not bad-mouth their current or previous employer
4. Provides links to their other social networking profiles
5. Includes a link to their current resume
6. Updates with new posts regularly
7. Keeps it non-controversial – minimal discussion of sex, politics, religion and other such controversial topics.
8. Is more genuine and honest
9. Has a blogroll with link to other interesting blogs
1. Respects the overlap between their personal and professional lives
2. Updates often
3. Posts pictures of friends and family but keeps them pg-13
4. Keeps it non-controversial – doesn’t take extreme positions on sex, drugs, religion, politics or other topics that could cause an employer to be wary of hiring
5. Is a member of groups relevant to their profession
1. Tweets often (between 2-10 times per day is considered reasonable)
2. Has a healthy followers/following ratio
3. Has the biggest network
4. Keeps a healthy balance between personal and professional tweets
5. Doesn’t just update, but also responds to others and generally seems to get Twitter
1. Does not lead to something controversial like arrests
2. Leads to profession-related discussions and commentary on other social media sites
3. Leads me to their online blog, webpage or social media profiles
4. Doesn’t come up blank
Why it matters
Now you might be asking yourself, if somebody has the skills that an employer requires, why are all of the above criteria important? The short answer is that nowadays employers rarely hire just skills and are looking for much more of a complete package – skills plus a well-rounded individual that fits well with their team and company. And a person’s social media footprint gives employers (and others) the best insight into your passions, interests, communication styles, work habits, work/life balance and all sorts of other valuable information.
Simply put, it helps an employer get to know you and get comfortable with you before a single word has even been exchanged. So think about it, if you had the choice to consider a cold bland resume or an actual person with common interests, passions and work/life style, wouldn’t the choice be obvious?
New to social media?
But what happens if you’re new to the world of Social Media and aren’t quite at the same pace as some of the veterans out there. Not to worry, just follow a few easy steps and you’ll be right into the thick of the game in absolutely no time.
1. Start ASAP!
2. Create fully completed LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter profiles.
3. Shed your preconceived notions of keeping your work and home life separate. Companies want people, not resumes. Start portraying yourself as the well-rounded individual that you are.
4. Use social media to its fullest – update often, connect with others and stay active.
5. Don’t stop ever (even if you’re happily employed and aren’t looking for new work). Establishing and maintaining a social media footprint is not an act, it’s a process. Just like your career evolves, so should your Social Media Footprint.
Boris Epstein is the CEO and Founder of BINC, a Professional Search Firm that specializes in the Software Marketplace. As a professional recruiter Boris shares his thoughts about the recruitment industry, job hunting and career advice at AskBinc.com.